A little over 3 weeks ago when the weather had cooled some down to 75F after weeks of high 80’s and 90F temps, I treated my hives using my choice of Varroa Mite Treatments.
My tallest hive consisting of 3 Deep Brood Boxes and 4 supers seems to be a pretty populous colony.
Earlier in the season I had combined this colony consisting of two brood deeps and a strong queen with a weaker swarm colony which I caught which wasn’t doing so well. The reason for the 3 Deep Brood Boxes.
Anyhow, after treating this colony along with all of my colonies in the yard, I was exhausted and decided not to remove the honey supers and decided to leave them on until after their treatment was completed for mites.
This past Tuesday I decided this was the day I would pull the two supers off during inspection. I was excited ! I was looking so forward to this day ! I couldn’t wait to pull off this honey and send it to the extractor ! More money on my pocket from sales of my local honey !
I proceeded to smoke the bees down some and removed the telescoping cover from the hive. I laid down a little more smoke through the hole in the inner cover to push the bees down some in anticipation of seeing that beautiful capped golden summer honey where I had seen it just a few weeks ago.
I removed the inner cover and glanced down through the frames.... ” I’ve Been Robbed “ ! Empty Comb is all I pretty much saw.
Most of the honey, if not all was missing from the top honey super. I was angry ! I was confused ! I said to myself “ Where is all my frigging honey “ !
Then I paused and collected my thoughts.
The colony wasn’t robbed out by other bees from what I could see... It’s August 25th, the end of summer as we know it.
The bees however are well into Fall mode already. Weeks ahead on their calendar. It’s been a pretty dry season weather wise and there really isn’t much natural forage out there at this time due to this. There hasn’t been much of a nectar flow. That brings a lot of stress on the bees.
The honeybees are always preparing themselves for winter starting in early Spring.
It appears that they have already started moving their stores downstairs to the lower brood boxes and spaces vacant in the lower supers in preparation for just that.
I'm sure that they probably indulged in some of it as well with the lack of natural stores coming in, and my not feeding them at this time of year up until this past week due to the fact that I didn’t want to feed them sugar while producing honey.
With my anger passing and thinking more about their well being, I whispered to them “girls... it’s alright”.
They worked for it. They earned it. They deserve it more than I do.
With that, I smiled and closed the hive up leaving them with what they need to survive the long fall and winter ahead.
If there's one thing I’ve learned in the several years that I’ve been keeping bees, it’s not always about the honey for my personal gain. It’s about their survival. It’s about our survival.